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Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 1158–1164 | Cite as

Skepticism Regarding Vaccine and Gluten-Free Food Safety Among Patients with Celiac Disease and Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity

  • Loren G. Rabinowitz
  • Haley M. Zylberberg
  • Alan Levinovitz
  • Melissa S. Stockwell
  • Peter H. R. Green
  • Benjamin Lebwohl
Original Article

Abstract

Background

There has been a marked increase in the adoption of the gluten-free (GF) diet.

Aims

To query individuals with celiac disease (CD) and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) on their beliefs toward the health effects of gluten, and safety of vaccines and GF food products.

Methods

We distributed a Web-based survey to individuals with CD and NCGS on a CD center e-mail list. We used univariate and multivariate analysis to compare responses of respondents with CD and NCGS.

Results

The overall response rate was 27% (NCGS n = 217, CD n = 1291). Subjects with NCGS were more likely than those with CD to disagree with the statement that “vaccines are safe for people with celiac disease” (NCGS 41.3% vs. CD 26.4% (p < 0.0001), and were more likely to decline vaccination when offered (30.9 vs. 24.2%, p = 0.007). After adjusting for age and gender, NCGS subjects were more likely than CD subjects to avoid genetically modified (GMO) foods (aOR 2.30; 95% CI 1.71–3.10), eat only organic products (aOR 2.87; 95% CI 2.04–4.03), believe that the FDA is an unreliable source of information (aOR 1.82, 95% CI 1.26–2.64), and believe a GF diet improves energy and concentration (aOR 2.52; 95% CI 1.86–3.43).

Conclusions

Subjects with NCGS were more likely than those with CD to have doubts about vaccine safety and believe in the value of non-GMO and organic foods. Our findings suggest that the lack of reliable information on gluten and its content in food and medications may reinforce beliefs that result in a detriment to public health.

Keywords

Celiac disease Non-celiac gluten sensitivity Gluten Vaccines 

Abbreviations

CD

Celiac disease

FDA

Food and drug administration

GMO

Genetically modified food

NCGS

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest and nothing to declare.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loren G. Rabinowitz
    • 1
    • 6
  • Haley M. Zylberberg
    • 1
    • 6
  • Alan Levinovitz
    • 2
  • Melissa S. Stockwell
    • 3
    • 4
  • Peter H. R. Green
    • 1
    • 6
  • Benjamin Lebwohl
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Celiac Disease CenterColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy and ReligionJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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